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Sago Palms Are Extremely Toxic to Dogs

Sago palms are toxic to dogs.

The sago palm (Cycas revoluta) is a popular landscaping plant in tropical and sub-tropical regions. It's also very commonly used as a houseplant because of its beauty and slow growth. However, it is extraordinarily toxic to dogs, cats, and horses.

Why Are Sago Palms Poisonous to Dogs?

Every part of the sago palm is incredibly toxic to dogs, with the seeds or nuts being the most poisonous. The dangerous substance that the plant contains is cycasin, which causes liver failure in dogs.

What Are the Signs of Sago Palm Toxicity in Dogs?

Within fifteen minutes of eating any part of a sago palm, a dog may show the following gastrointestinal signs:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Drooling
  • Refusal to eat

Within two to three days of ingestion of even a tiny amount of any part of a sago palm, a dog may be in acute, severe liver failure and showing signs of nervous system involvement. At this time, the dog may be showing the signs of illness listed above as well as:

  • Increased thirst
  • Bruises
  • Bloody diarrhea or black, tarry stool
  • Bloody vomit
  • Fluid accumulation in the abdomen
  • Yellow skin, gums, or whites of the eyes
  • Weakness
  • Wobbliness
  • Tremors
  • Seizures
  • Death

Treatment of Sago Palm Ingestion and Toxicity in Dogs

There is no specific antidote for poisoning by the cycasin in a sago plant. The treatment is supportive. Depending on how much time has gone by since the dog ingested the plant, your veterinarian may do any or all of the following:

  • Induce vomiting to try and remove as much of the sago palm as possible from your dog's stomach before it can be absorbed.
  • Administer activated charcoal, a substance that can bind with toxins and carry them out of the system unabsorbed, if your dog isn't yet vomiting.
  • Begin intravenous fluid therapy.
  • Institute treatment with anti-nausea medications, anti-seizure medications, removal of fluid from the abdomen, vitamin K injections, and other treatments for liver failure.

Even with aggressive treatment, the survival rate for dogs that have ingested sago palm is only around 50%.

If your dog is showing any of the above signs of illness, get to a veterinarian immediately. If you see your dog chew on or ingest any plant that you don't recognize or if you know that it is a sago palm, go to your regular veterinarian or emergency veterinarian immediately, and tell them what happened.

Sago palms are an extremely toxic plant for dogs, cats, and horses. Unfortunately, many people, including some landscapers, are not aware of this. If you have pets, make sure that you don't use sago palms inside your home or in your yard.

Spreading the word about the toxicity of sago palms for pets may help encourage sellers to label these hazardous plants before distributing them.

You can read the story of one family's experience with sago palm and their dogs here:

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